Renault-Nissan and Daimler estimate the deal will save them each two billion euros over the next five years.
A similar deal between Daimler and BMW broke down last year due to differences in engineering philosophy on small cars and engines. BMW will now seek closer working ties with PSA.
At the heart of the Daimler/Renault co-operation is Project Edison - an initiative to create a platform to underpin the next Smart Fortwo, Forfour and the Renault Twingo. These models will use a rear-engine/rear-wheel drive layout, while the Smarts will also feature today’s Tridion safety cell, which is considered a unique selling point for the Smart brand.
The new Smart Fortwo, the Smart four-seater and the new Renault Twingo are scheduled to be launched from 2013 onwards. The Smart plant in Hambach, France will produce the two-seaters, while the Renault plant in Novo Mesto, Slovenia will build the four-seaters. From launch, these cars will be available with electric drive variants.
The second major component of the deal will be drivetrain sharing. Project Edison will include an electric powertrain based on the Smart ED, and there will be a range of new three and four-cylinder petrol and diesels to be uses in Mercedes, Smarts, Renaults and Nissans.
Ranging from 1.2 to 1.8 litres, the engines will be engineered by Daimler and built by Renault. They will be used in cars such as the next A and B-class, as well as forthcoming Clios and Meganes.
Daimler will also pass its current petrol and diesel engine technology to Infiniti. This would result in Daimler supplying Renault with V6 and V8 petrol and diesel engines as well as a new automatic transmission to replace today’s seven-speed 7G-Tronic unit for use in future Infiniti models.
Although not part of the initial co-operation, Daimler sources reveal Renault’s Ghosn is also investigating using Mercedes-Benz’s new front- and four-wheel drive MFA (modular front antrieb) platform set to underpin the new A- and B-class for a proposed entry-level Infiniti model.
The companies will also collaborate on light van projects. As part of this deal, Renault-Nissan will make its diesel engine and transmission technology available for use in the Mercedes Vito.
As part of the deal, Daimler will take a cross-shareholding of 3.1 per cent in Nissan and Renault. Renault-Nissan will take the same stake in Daimler.
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